Social Misfit


Blood may be thicker than water, but there’s something to be said for those you choose to associate yourself with.

I don’t hate my relatives. I just can’t think of any reason to like them. They’re nice people, but the amount of common ground we share couldn’t serve as a desert island in a Far Side cartoon.

The cousins my age all agree on this point, so at family affairs we meet in a truce, socializing politely in shared misery. The older, married cousins yap about diapers while the high schoolers complain about homework and plan their summers. But I could always count on my group of cousins to huddle with me – if they couldn’t get out of the affair altogether. We’d make small talk about “so what have you been doing lately?”, a topic that never ceased to be freshly exciting because no one bothered remembering the answers for more than a few minutes.

But then a whole bunch of them went and got engaged, the traitors. So this Chanukah, the high schoolers yapped about what they would wear to the weddings, the older cousins talked about babysitters, and I was left with one lone cousin on the side to watch the rest of them float together, swapping diet tips and discussing how many times they had to have their gown taken in. (And they’re all honeymooning in Israel for a year, so I need to reevaluate my long-term family-event strategy. Help!)

It occurred to me, as I lounged in the corner, listening to the high schoolers chatter, that a good deal of the interest in marrying is socially derived. If you aren’t paired up by a certain age then you’re “left behind,” the lonely single in a room of married people and youngsters. You don’t belong anywhere; you choose to insert yourself with the younger crowd or the older crowd, but you don’t belong to either.

This makes many single women miserable. They feel like they have no friends. A ludicrous situation to be in, considering that “10% of this year’s graduating class will never marry.” There are many single women out there; we ought to stick together and befriend each other. Nobody has an excuse for being friendless. Go forth and find friends! How hard can it be, with a shidduch crisis on?

With that introduction, I would like to say that it was a pleasure to meet Bas~Melech, Dreamer, and Corner Point (or re-meet, as the case might be—it’s a small world!) yesterday. Thanks for arranging it, Bas~Melech, and let’s do it again someday soon.